We examine the relationship between marriage and welfare recidivism for women leaving a first welfare spell, using the 1979–2000 panels of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). Previous studies have found that women who marry around the time of welfare exit have lower rates of welfare return than women who stay single. However, more marriages occur before or after welfare exit than occur at the time of welfare exit. We find that marriages that precede or follow welfare exit by more than 12 months are not associated with significantly lower rates of welfare return. We also confirm previous findings that marriages formed within a year of welfare exit are associated with reduced rates of welfare return. However, these reduced rates mostly indicate later welfare returns rather than fewer welfare returns. Overall, our findings indicate a much weaker association between marriage and welfare independence than has been previously reported for this time period.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 19, 2009
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